Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Retail Therapy: Loot

There is absolutely nothing minimalist about Loot.

No, Loot is all about abundance. Call it "maximalist," if you will. The shop is a bit cluttered by modern standards, but gorgeously so -- you never know what kind of wonderfulness you’ll find on an artfully jumbled table or shelf in this chock-a-block space.

Located near the lower end of bustling College Avenue in Oakland's Rockridge District**, Loot bills itself as an antiques store -- but its selection is more eclectic than that. (Like the abalone-encrusted Venus, right, $1,500.) And unlike a lot of antiques stores, there's nothing fusty about the place.

The shop is owned by sought-after floral designer, author, and intrepid traveler Ron Morgan, who often brings back treasures from his far-flung journeys. (There's a notable collection of Asian antiques and objets gathered from his trips to the Far East, for instance, including the stone Buddha, $410, and ceramic ginger jar, $175, below.)
Morgan also hosts occasional sellout floral design workshops at the store. The next one, dubbed “Ordinary to Exquisite,” is June 11 -- and there's actually a spot or two left in it. (Call 510-652-3996 quick to grab a reservation.)

Loot’s offerings include a preponderance of pricey mirrored, metal, and upholstered furniture, as well as tableware, lighting (like the mercury glass lamps above, $190 to $275, and gold leaf lamp at right, $125), ceramics, prints and paintings, objects d’art, decorative items such as seashells, candles and candlesticks (the divine blue opaline glass ones, below, are $45 each), and other ephemera.

Many of the accessories seem to be in a woodland vein right now -- including twig nests ($24), concrete mushrooms ($14 to $28), moss balls of varying sizes, and an assortment of statuary bunnies, birds, and other woodland creatures. And, Morgan being a floral designer, there’s always an excellent selection of glass, ceramic, and metal vases, bottles, and other vessels on display -- many of them very reasonably priced.

Don’t miss the back room or the courtyard, either. You’ll find a lovely array of succulents as well as planters and garden accessories there.

Prices at Loot range from super expensive to downright cheap. You'll find everything from vintage chairs for $1,800 to fresh-and-funky striped candles for $6 -- and all of it beautiful and unique. (As I told a friend when I was describing the place to her yesterday, I can't buy the $1,800 circa-1960s Italian faux bois chairs, but I can certainly fondle them -- and I did.)

All things being equal, this is probably my favorite store in the entire East Bay. My husband knows not to drive within a mile of the place, lest I beg him to take a detour so that I can pop in for "just a second." More often than not, I climb back in the car with some new treasure. (On our last visit, it was the huge lantern at left, $45.)

Be sure to pop in yourself the next time you're in the area. Loot is located at 5358 College Avenue, and is open from 11 to 5 Tuesdays through Sundays.

** Update: As of October 2, 2007, Loot can be found at 3598 Mt. Diablo Blvd. in Lafayette.

A bit more Loot booty pictured below: Painting, $150; ceramic birds, $175 for the pair; vintage hatboxes, $20 to $65 each; tufted silk chairs, $750 for the pair; silver crab, $85.


Turquoise said...

Leah, thanks for posting this great store what a great find! Hope to be in the bay area soon so I will check it out.

katiedid said...

I hope to get here soon! great finds!

Decorno said...

Wow. WOW! Love this and all your photos. I aspire to be minimalist, but my maximalist nature really emerges when I see a place like this. Yum.

Thanks for adding me to your blog roll, BTW!


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